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Remembering Chapman’s former director of choral music, Sheldon Disrud

Sheldon Disrud, an early director of choral music who helped many Chapman University alumni land singing jobs at Disneyland and launch music education careers, has died. Disrud passed away Dec. 13 in Fullerton, Calif. He was 91.

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Sheldon Disrud

Disrud was among the first faculty who joined Chapman when it moved to the City of Orange in 1954. Among his students was Jim Schamp ’62, whom Disrud helped become a
Dapper Dan at Disneyland
. Schamp kept in touch with Disrud and in recent years joined a choral group Disrud created – the DizChords.

Schamp remembered Disrud as a gifted teacher with boundless enthusiasm for music.

“He was pure joy and fun,” said Schamp, recently retired from his own career teaching music in junior and senior high schools. “He gave us a wide variety of music, from the very best of the Renaissance up through modern music. I remember doing things by Charles Ives with him. He did the whole gamut, plus madrigal music. The Chapman Madrigals were a big part of his work.”

In addition to teaching at Chapman, Disrud directed Disneyland’s annual Candlelight Procession for many years and enjoyed a long career outside teaching, from singing back-up for Mel Torme to conducting shows at Radio City Music Hall.

He is survived by his partner of 53 years, Marc Guardiola, and family members Heidi Masley, Bradley Swenson, Sherwood Swenson, Gayle Markens and Luke Swenson.

A visitation will be held Monday, Dec. 21, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Hilgenfeld Mortuary, 120 E. Broadway in Anaheim. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 11 a.m. at Anaheim First Presbyterian Church, 310 W. Broadway, Anaheim.


Dawn Bonker

1 comment

  • I remember him from Disneyland’s Candlelight back in the 90’s. He was a very favorite of mine, so enthusiastic!!
    Loved him!!