Baldwin's B.A. Schoen named Band Member of the Year for Amityville Pipe Band


Although he calls Baldwin home, B.A. Schoen plays a vital role in the Amityville Highland Pipe Band, Long Island’s inaugural pipe band. As the band’s Color Sergeant, he is well-respected among members and the community. For that, Schoen earned recognition as the 2023 Band Member of the Year.

“I was surprised,” Schoen recalled feeling. “I’m a Color Sergeant and that means I yell at my guys so I don’t have a natural constituency like the pipers and drummers do.”

A member for over 20 years, Schoen serves as its Color Sergeant, responsible for carrying and maintaining the flags or banners associated with the band. Band members often march at the front of the band during parades or performances, leading the way and showcasing the visual appeal of the overall presentation.

It is a position that new members first start in when they join, T.J. White, pipe major said, and members move into new rankings once they start learning the drums or the bagpipes.

“We need people to stay in the Color Sergeant,” he said. “Because everyone sees the bagpipers and they want to, you know, play at people’s funerals, weddings and the drummers get to do their little drum salutes. The Color Sergeant kind of gets forgotten.

“Everybody loves the pipes and drums, not many people are asking about the guy that held the rifle or the flag,” he added. “But he (Schoen) does that, and he does it really well.”

As members were preparing to travel to France to participate in ceremonies commemorating the 79th anniversary of “Operation Overlord,” known as ‘D-Day,” Schoen worked behind the scenes to honor the children of Theodore Roosevelt: Archibald Roosevelt, Kermit Roosevelt, Theodore Jr. Roosevelt and Quentin Roosevelt, honoring Theodore Jr. and Quentin with a flag from the Theodore Roosevelt Association.

“We performed at six sanctioned events in the week we were in France and two more that B.A. organized himself,” White said. “He (Shoen) presented a flag from the Theodore Roosevelt Association to American Legion Post #1, the Paris, France post of the American Legion at the graces of Quentin and Theodore Roosevelt Jr. at the Normandy American Cemetery on D-Day 2023.”

“It was one of the most stirring events in my time in the band and there have been many,” he added.

The flag presented had flown over Sagmore Hill in Oyster Bay, Theodore’s home. Prior to delivering it to American Legion Post #1, Shoen took the flag to the offices of Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

“I took the flag to several places, including the Baldwin Post of the American Legion,” he said. “I got to admit, it gave me chills.”

Shoen, who comes from a family that served, his parents meeting while serving in World War II, marches for those who can’t.

“Although I didn’t serve in the armed forces, it was a very big part of my life,” he said. “I keep marching so that they’re honored and respected.”