FGCU Student Stopped from Playing Tuba on Fort Myers Beach Plays On


Alexandra Porter, Contributing Writer

Derick Nangle, a music therapy major at FGCU, has been playing his tuba while carrying a sign along the shore of Fort Myers Beach since August 2020. Nangle performed every Saturday until last month, on July 8, when he was told by beach patrol that he could not play his music there anymore.

“One of the beach patrols came out and said ‘hey, we were told if we see you, to tell you to leave,’” Nangle said. “I asked why, and they said ‘well, we don’t know. You’ll have to ask Fort Myers Beach Town Hall.’”

Nangle went to Town Hall the next day searching for answers. He was told he would have to get a permit based on the entertainer’s ordinance. The ordinance limits entertainers to Times Square and requires them to have a permit. He explained to the council that this would be an issue because he did not want to draw attention away from musicians that play in the area of Times Square.

“I have buddies that I get with and there’s guys who are doing the same thing by doing solo shows in the restaurants,” Nangle said. “I don’t want to overplay them. That would make it unfair to the other people around me.”

He messaged the city council on July 10 and received word a couple days later from Roger Herndstadt, the Fort Myers Beach Town Manager. In an email, Herndstadt said that this manner of playing music was not permitted and to not replicate these activities on town property. Instead, Herndstadt recommended that Nangle play elsewhere.

“I have no further advice than to seek a private property to host you in order to perform and solicit donations on their property,” Herndstadt wrote. “Or look for other locations outside of the Town of Fort Myers Beach that allow the activities you describe in your emails on their public property.”

In an email to Nangle on July 11, Councilman Bill Veach said that there was an ordinance against portable signs. Veach explained that there would be an issue with him keeping his sign, and that there has recently been a case against a preacher in the town displaying signs.

“Making special exceptions for individuals would create legal issues for the town,” Veach wrote. “The beach comes with its own complexities, most of the beach is privately owned, and many people appreciate a tranquil beach experience.”

Some in the council have spoken in support of Nangle. In an email from July 14, Councilman Jim Atterholt said that the town has a complaint driven enforcement policy. He says he was not aware of anyone complaining about Nangle’s playing at the time.

“I will do all I can to see if a reasonable compromise can be found,” Atterholt wrote. “What you are doing by sharing your music on the beach is contributing to the unique and eclectic nature of our island and should be encouraged especially if no one is complaining.”

Nangle is currently seeking financial aid through a GoFundMe in order to start a solo act as “Sunny D”. This fundraiser would include funds to purchase his own equipment and instruments. But for now he continues to play on the beach every Saturday, without his sign, and enjoys the company of many of the beach goers.

“You know, when it comes to music in any form, I always tell people that everyone has tastes and everyone has what they like, but doing it is very therapeutic,” Nangle said. “And it’s just about the love. It’s an art form, not a science.”