Member Profiles

[Thumbnail photo of J.D. Hill] [Thumbnail photo of Peggy Dove] [Thumbnail photo of Shanai “Panther” Nealy] [Thumbnail photo of Jeff Miller] [Thumbnail photo of Mike Connolly] [Thumbnail photo of Bobby Foster] [Thumbnail photo of Gary Dulleck] [Thumbnail photo of Ray Espinoza] [Thumbnail photo of Fred Hoot] [Thumbnail photo of George DeMar] [Thumbnail photo of Jerry Benjamin]
[Photo of J.D. Hill]

J.D. Hill

Leader / Vocals / Timbales / Trombone

J.D. Hill is the founder and leader of The Touch Of Class Band. He is a dynamic front man with many years of experience putting together high energy show bands. J.D. has formal training in voice, percussion, and trombone. He contributes to the group's vocal and musical arrangements and is responsible for the incredible choreography. J.D. is certainly the man who puts and keeps it all together.

[Photo of Peggy Dove]

Peggy Dove


Peggy Dove comes from a musical family and has several years of formal training in piano and voice. Her musical influences are varied across genres and time periods, but they include strong female vocalists such as Joss Stone and Alicia Keys. With experience performing throughout northern California, Peggy's classy presence, unique tone, and piercing high notes make her a valuable member of the TOC family. Peggy wholeheartedly agrees with Ella Fitzgerald: "The only thing better than singing is more singing!"

[Photo of Shanai “Panther” Nealy]

Shanai “Panther” Nealy


Shanai Nealy (aka Panther) is a native Californian, born in Stockton and raised in San Jose. She attributes her love of music to her father, Michael Nealy, who influenced her at an early age with his soulful R&B rhythm guitar playing and singing. She is also greatly influenced by her church choir and brings with her those melodic gospel sounds. You can't miss the effortless blend of her sultry alto voice, the finesse and extra "touch of class" that Shanai brings to TOC.

[Photo of Jeff Miller]

Jeff Miller


Jeff Miller bring many years of experience into the TOC mix. Growing up in Oakland, Jeff was influenced by bands like Tower of Power, Santana, John Lee Hooker, and Sly and the Family Stone. Carlos Santana's advice is to "play with your own signature," and Jeff truly takes that to heart. Jeff combines many different styles in his solos, including jazz, fusion, blues and rock phrasing. He believes that in addition to playing strong rhythms, a guitar, like the bass, has to "lock in" with the drums and give strong support to the vocalists.

[Photo of Mike Connolly]

Mike Connolly


Mike Connolly is a seasoned Bay Area veteran of the groove school of bass playing. Mike has played with the top dance bands in CA. Mike’s infectious grooves fill out the strong rhythm section and a welcome addition to TOC . Mike says "if it don’t funk then Funk it"!

[Photo of Bobby Foster]

Bobby Foster


With over thirty years of experience, Bobby Foster is one of TOC's seasoned veterans. His musical influences include Tower of Power, George Duke, and Harvey Mason. Bobby's heart-felt back beats and high energy style make him a sought after drummer on the circuit today and a welcome addition to the Touch of Class family.

[Photo of Gary Dulleck]

Gary Dulleck


A San Francisco Bay Area native, Gary has been a part of the south bay music scene for decades playing with groups covering a gamut of diverse styles from R&B to rock, jazz, western swing, blues & funk. A firm believer that the greatest joy in life is creating. Gary is happy to lend his talent to the creative effort of The Touch of Class Band.

[Photo of Ray Espinoza]

Ray Espinoza


Ray Espinoza brings over 35 years of sax playing to The Touch Of Class Band. A master of both tenor and baritone sax, Ray has been a musical director and has professional recording experience. His flowing tone and crisp staccato provide a rich sound, and his on stage experience makes him a substantial addition to TOC.

[Photo of Fred Hoot]

Fred Hoot


Fred Hoot's musical roots go back to the late 60s and 70s in the Philadelphia area covering blues, jazz, big band, classical, funk, avant-garde, and whatever other musical taste excited his palate. After moving to California in the 80s, Fred went back to his blues and jazz roots and became a fixture at local jam sessions. He played with many bands, including several years with the Madalyn Rose Blues Band and opening for Elvin Bishop at J.J.'s Blues Club venues. During recent years, Fred could be found guest starring with several great artists, including Kaye Bohler and her Blues and Jazz Bands. Fred adds a screaming top end to the TOC horn line.

[Photo of George DeMar]

George DeMar

Trumpet / Flugelhorn / Trombone / Keys / Vocals

George Jerome DeMar was born and raised in Oakland California. In his early years he traveled extensively around the world with just groups as The Drifters, The Coasters, Pure Gold Band, Touch N Go Band, and play as a side man with The Tavares Group, Sapo, and Billy Preston.

George plays Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trombone, Hammond B3/keyboard and vocals. “G.O” has the polished skills and technique to perform the most intricate parts and at the same time he has the sensitivity to take a mellow ballad and leave not a dry eye in the house. Born under the sign of Leo,he will charm you, excite you, thrill you, but most of all will send you away feeling that you’ve had a rare and memorable experience.

[Photo of Jerry Benjamin]

Jerry Benjamin


Jerry Benjamin brings over 30 years of experience to TOC. He is a phenomenal guitarist and a recorded songwriter. Jerry has shared his talent as an instructor, producing students who have scored number one hits, platinum albums, and AMA awards. Jerry's soulful, jazzy guitar is a tremendous asset to The Touch Of Class Band.

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