2010 Swan Award Winner: Sheldon Disrud


Sheldon-DisrudAfter Sheldon Disrud relocated from his native midwest to Southern California, he began to pursue a career in music — a marked departure from his original goal of becoming a doctor. Having formed a vocal sextet at L.A. City College, Disrud was contacted by an agent whose client, a singer, was looking for backup singers. The singer was Mel Torme, and Disrud and his friends became “The Mel-Tones.” As a performer, Disrud routinely rubbed elbows with the likes of Les Baxter, Marilyn Horne, Paul Whiteman and the future Mrs. Henry Mancini. After attending USC from 1946-’51, Disrud flirted with the show-biz life, but ultimately went directly from show business to a teaching job at Anaheim High School.

Disrud was brought to FC in the mid-1960s to teach and conduct choir madrigal, chamber singers and the a capella choir. The school’s music building was brand new and the department boasted faculty like Sara McFerrin, Dorothy Griffin and Nelson Bonar. While teaching at Fullerton College, Disrud also assisted Dr. Charles Hirt, one of his teachers from USC and his mentor, in running Disneyland’s annual Candlelight Procession at Christmastime, which Hirt started in 1957 and Disrud directed and ran from 1980 to 1990. Though now primarily retired, Disrud conducts church choirs and retirees in Orange County.