People Who Died 2013: Theatre Downtown's Garrison Doles

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[At the year's end, Orlando Weekly reflects on the too-frequently unsung heroes who we lost over the year in our People Who Died issue. During 2013, this included a number of noted locals, so we've expanded our coverage to include online exclusive tributes to these much-missed folks. Keep an eye out for the full issue on stands and online Jan. 1.]

With a life full of hazy bars, pool games and Jack Daniels, it’s no wonder Garrison Doles turned to soul music. The singer-songwriter stumbled into Orlando in the mid ’80s after leaving the haze of days spent chasing spoiled dreams behind him, and was looking for a creative outlet and a good group of people to help him carve out something new for himself. He helped found Theatre Downtown, one of the longest-running theater companies in the area, and picked up a guitar. Orlando helped him find a voice, and he took that voice all over the country, along with his very personal stories and songs. Later in life his music took on a Christian note, as is wont to happen with musicians who’ve cleaned up their act, and he started Song Chapel, an amalgam of scripture and song. On his website he likens his life to sea glass, “Shattered and jagged and tossing in the ocean, tumbling against the sandpaper bottom until it rolled out smooth and hard and not quite transparent.” Garrison passed on Dec. 2.

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