Phantom Regiment is pleased to welcome its newest inductees to the Phantom Regiment Hall of Fame.

The class of 2024 will add two members to the hall of fame: Dr. Galen Karriker and Barb Pelan. This brings the total number of inductees to 59. There is one criterion for the hall of fame: Someone who has made a significant, long-lasting, and positive impact on the Phantom Regiment organization.


GALEN KARRIKER, who was nominated by Phantom Regiment hall of famer Rick Valenzuela, has been involved with Phantom Regiment since he first joined the corps as a marching member in 1987.

He was a snare drummer in Phantom Regiment’s iconic Songs from the Winter Palace show in 1987 (as well as 1988 and 1990) but he is best known as the conductor for the 1991 show, Phantom Voices. After aging out, he was a tour manager and instructor in the 1990s.

However, it was his role that started in 2003 that earned him induction into the Phantom Regiment Hall of Fame. Then-corps director Patrick Seidling enlisted Galen to help start a Phantom Regiment educational camp for aspiring drum majors in 2003. In the two decades since, Galen has had a hand in selecting and developing numerous Phantom Regiment conductors as well as teaching dozens of drum majors from across the country that have come to Phantom Regiment to learn from the best.

In 2007, then-executive director Rick Valenzuela collaborated with Galen to take the Rockford model for the drum major camp national. First in Frostburg, Md., and later in Akron, Ohio, Albuquerque, N.M., Lafayette, La., Lebanon, Ill., and Conway, Ark.

“Galen’s role as the cornerstone of the drum major camps cannot be overstated,” Valenzuela said. “His dynamic approach to pedagogy and his relentless pursuit of excellence in student experience showcase his innovative spirit.

“Galen’s natural ability to entertain and engage, coupled with his profound educational influence, creates an unparalleled environment for learning.”

Among those who he has impacted through the educational camps are David Warren and Dean Patterson. Warren was a conductor with Phantom Regiment for 5 seasons, became a tour director and then corps director. Patterson was the lead conductor for 3 seasons and later a tour director.

In his letter of support, Patrick Seidling said, “A talented member hailing from Regiment royalty (hall of famer Marty Hurley), an iconic drum corps personality on the podium, a dedicated supporter as a young ageout, and a person of competence and confidence who helped build the cornerstone program serving the corps’ education mission, Galen Karriker has no doubt made a significant and long-lasting positive impact here.”

Kevin Rabon, who has been a marching member, brass staff member and a key figure with Phantom Regiment Academy, noted Galen’s initiative in 2020.

“When most other drum major camps ceased during the COVID-19 pandemic, Galen revamped the curriculum so it could be taught online. Phantom Regiment’s drum major camps were one of the few to be offered virtually so that students could continue to learn and the drum corps could continue to reach its target audience.”

When he’s not helping Phantom Regiment, Galen is the long-time director of bands at University of Akron in Ohio and an active clinician and guest conductor. He lives outside of Akron with his wife, Kendra, and their two children.


BARB PELAN, who was nominated by her children, Dana Pelan, Lisa Baclet and Chris Pelan, was a Phantom Regiment volunteer for 30 years.

She first got involved in 1979 when she saw the corps practicing near her home in Sycamore, Ill. Then her children marched with Phantom Regiment Cadets and Phantom Regiment throughout the 1980s. Barb started as a cook for the Cadets and moved up to the “big corps” with her children.

Her children said in their nomination letter, “In Montreal in 1982, the cooking staff received access to the school kitchen facilities, and it was at that time that the transformation began, and our mom was the leader in making this happen.”

In his letter of support, long-time marching and staff member Duane Minnick said, “She was very focused on raising the level of food quality to help the members consistently improve their experience and performance levels.

“Over the years, she helped in every manner possible, including sewing, organizing member activities, helping with color guard equipment and, most importantly, caring for the members in every way she could.”

Barb was heavily involved in the food truck project that saw Phantom Regiment roll out a beautiful mobile kitchen in 1988 and became chair of the food program. In the 1990s, she would take over the concessions for Show of Shows at Boylan High School and was elected to the Phantom Regiment board of directors, serving until 2010. She was one of the longest-tenured board members in the organization’s history and served as an officer (secretary) for many years. She became the board’s first director emeritus in 2012.

“Phantom Regiment came along at a time in our mom’s life when she needed an escape,” her children said. “What started out as a personal necessity for Mom in 1979 quickly turned in a 40+ year love affair, of support, of volunteerism, of Phamily, of Phriends and a passion that never died.”

Kerry Knodle, who served many roles in the 1980s and 1990s, most notably as a tour director, wrote a letter supporting Barb’s nomination, saying, “She may have begun as a weekend warrior, but her contribution to the organization has depth and breadth paralleled by few.”

Barb died at age 86 in January 2024 after battling health issues for many years. She wanted to attend a show so badly, but her health wouldn’t allow it. Her last show in person was 2016 in Rockford for Phantom Regiment’s 60th anniversary.

“It was heartbreaking to know we could not manage to get her there logistically,” her children said. “While our mom could no longer see a show in person, she watched every show for years on Flo Marching, and she made Chris take her to the movie theater to see quarterfinals this past summer. This is a cherished memory Chris is grateful to have and will hold in her heart forever.”

In addition to her many hours volunteering with Phantom Regiment, Barb was a social worker for 22 years for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She is survived by her five children, eight grandchildren and one sister.


The purpose of the Phantom Regiment Hall of Fame is to honor those who have made a significant, long-lasting, and positive impact on the Phantom Regiment organization. They are honored at an event, which, this year, will be held July 6 at Rockford University. Nominations are accepted in February of each year. More information and a full list of inductees can be found HERE.

SAVE THE DATE!

July 6, 2024
Rockford University’s Regents Hall

Join us for a celebratory night with dinner, drinks, auction bidding, and catching up with old friends!

Tickets will be available soon.