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A new dawn for Daybreak

Daybreak band members Leisha Tietz (left), Jim Hanson and Dick Wilt recently reh1 / 2
Daybreak band members Leisha Tietz (left), Jim Hanson and Dick Wilt recently reh2 / 2

It’s been more than 30 years since the band Daybreak has played together in the Brainerd lakes area.

That will all change when Daybreak band members — Jim Hanson, Dick Wilt and Leisha Tietz — come together once again to hit the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday to perform at the newly remodeled Bar Harbor in Lake Shore.

Band followers from the late 70s, early 80s may remember Daybreak. The band played at several supper clubs in the lakes area and it was the house band, playing six nights a week, at the Swiss House, which is now Zorbaz on Gull in Lake Shore, just off Cass County Road 77.

Daybreak also played at six venues in downtown Brainerd and a few places on Gull Lake.

“It’s so different now,” said Tietz. “Supper clubs that featured live music were so popular then, but they aren’t anymore.

“It could be a generation thing (of why supper clubs with live music are not as popular today.) The younger generation does not dance as much as their parents and grandparents did and there are more karaoke and DJ’s now.”

Hanson said when they heard that Bar Harbor was reopening they thought it’d be a good time to get the band back together and help with the restaurant’s opening weekend. All three band members have performed at Bar Harbor over the years, but never together.

Hanson plays keyboard and bass and does vocals; Wilt plays guitar; and Tietz sings. Joining Daybreak Saturday will be drummer Joe Yager, who plays with the band members occasionally.

Daybreak will perform jazz standards and classic pop dance music. The band will perform standards by Patsy Cline, Julie London, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald; and newer music by Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr., and others.

The band members were only together for four years, but they’ve stayed in contact through the past three decades and have always had an itch to eventually play together again. The trio also stayed in the music industry on their own off and on through the years.

Wilt played or 10 years in downtown Brainerd and the surrounding area with various groups and with his family band, The Wilt Brothers. In the 60s, he played in a Twin Cities metro area popular group called Tornadoes and in 2004 he was inducted to the Minnesota Rock and Country Hall of Fame.

Hanson said one of the bands he was in was called Mountain Fever and they played regularly at Harold’s Club, which was later known as Buster’s years ago, located in Baxter where Brothers Motor Sports sits today. For 20 years, he traveled throughout the Midwest as part of the “Swingin’ Sertomans.”

For the past two years, Wilt and Hanson have performed as the duo Redoux Deluxe, featuring jazz standards at venues in the lakes area. They also are in a gospel group entitled Shadow of the Cross that performs in central Minnesota. Wilt also currently plays guitar in the band, Three Men and a Lady.

Over the years, Tietz sang with background music as “Leisha K and Silhouette” for many years and performed at venues such as Madden’s and Ernie’s on Gull Lake.

Today, all three participate in their church’s worship and praise groups.

Hanson said the band is hoping for a good crowd Saturday and they hope the band will continue to play at venues in the lakes area in the years to come.

“We have a good time,” said Hanson. “And if we’re well accepted we’ll continue to play.”

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at