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The Connecticut Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS in Connecticut and raise funds for critical MS research. Join the movement toward a world free of MS.



June 5, 2012

Vivid, shown here on stage, will rock the finish line party at the 2012 NBC Connecticut MS Motorcycle Ride, Sunday, July 22, at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford. For more information or to register, visit

Band will rock the finish line party.


HARTFORD, Conn. – They say Vivid isn’t just a band, it’s the party. If that’s true, things are about to wind up big at this year’s MS Motorcycle Ride.

Established in 2000, the five-piece cover band has been named to headline this year’s NBC Connecticut MS Motorcycle Ride at the Oakdale Theatre Sunday, July 22.

“We can’t wait to play,” said Michael Simonetta, who stepped in for the drummer one night in 2005 and never left. “We believe in giving back. We believe in having a good time. If we can help, we’re there.”

Simonetta, who recognized Vivid as a good band, was convinced it could do better. He took the reins so to speak, and began looking for the right venues to highlight the band’s diversity, versatility and infectious energy. It wasn’t long before his efforts paid off.  The Hartford-based band books gigs up and down the Atlantic Coast, as far North as Boston, Mass., and as far South as Key West, Fla. Known for the band members’ ability to harmonize, Vivid plays everything from Top 40 party music from the ‘60s, 70’s and beyond. Covers include music from The Beatles, Bon Jovi, The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Big and Rich, Vanilla Ice and more.

Simonetta, who lives in Middletown, also does vocals. Matt Barstow, Hatfield, Mass., plays keyboard, rhythm guitar and drums. Michale Staniewicz, a native ofSouthington and now a resident of Meriden, plays bass guitar and vocal harmony. Jon Beyes, Newington, plays lead guitar. South Windsor resident, TJ Simkewicz, who put the band together, is Vivid’s lead vocalist.

“Our band is standout,” said Simonetta, who today essentially manages the band in addition to his role as drummer. “Jon is a phenom on guitar. He plays as if it’s effortless. He’s one of the best. Michael is the catalyst behind our strong suit – our vocal harmonies. We really love what we do and strive for perfection.”

The band is also committed to outreach and has partnered with numerous charities, helping to raise awareness and engage others. Vivid has supported, among others, Fidelco and The Camp of the Rising Son, a medically staffed camp for kids with cancer.

For the first time ever, the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford will host the NBC Connecticut MS Motorcycle Ride. And also, for the first time, the 2012 ride will feature two satellite start locations, one in Norwalk and the other, in East Hartford.

Shoreline riders will leave from the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, office at 1 Selleck Street in Norwalk. Bikers east of the Connecticut River will depart from Gengras Harley-Davidson in East Hartford. The main start location will leave from the Oakdale Theatre. All three rides depart at 11 a.m. and follow a scenic, 50-mile back road route to the finish line party at the Oakdale Theatre and where, for the first time ever, where Vivid will get the party started.

NBC Connecticut reporter Todd Piro will serve as grand marshal.

The ride takes place Sunday, July 22, Registration for the MS Motorcycle is available online, but bikers can also register from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at all start locations the day of the event. There is a $30 fee for riders and a $20 fee for passengers. Friends and family wishing to take part in only the finish line activities, which includes lunch, pay just $10. The 50-mile ride will kick-start at 11 a.m. sharp. Finish line activities include live music, a barbeque, drawings for prizes, a vendor expo and much more.

Motorcycle ride sponsors include NBC Connecticut, Clear Channel Radio Connecticut, Connecticut Cruise News, Haymond Law and Hot Leathers. For more information on Vivid, visit For more information on the 2012 NBC Connecticut MS Motorcycle Ride or to register, visit


About the Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society

The Connecticut Chapter strives to provide knowledge and assistance to help people with MS and their families maintain the highest possible quality of life. These goals are achieved through vital national and local programs.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.


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