Recent Mountlake Terrace High School graduate Josh Setala has a passion for both music and ice cream. So, it’s only appropriate that he has earned a scholarship from the International Association of Ice Cream Distributors that will help him attend the San Francisco Music Conservatory this fall.
Since he was 16 years old, Setala has worked for Moonie Icy Tunes while also playing jazz drums in the Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Band. During his time at MTHS, the school’s jazz band twice was selected to participate in the prestigious Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival, which recognizes the top high school jazz bands in the U.S. MTHS has been chosen to compete in the festival – now in its 25th year – a total of nine times.
In 2018, the band traveled to New York City for the festival. In 2020, the band participated in remote Essentially Ellington events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We practiced and perfected our songs for a year, and it was a great honor to be invited.” Setala said of the 2018 festival. “We spent an entire week in New York, and met a lot of talented people and did a lot of different things based around music.”
Setala credits his boss, Moonie Icy Tunes Owner/Partner Sharon Crosetto, for helping him gain self-confidence and valuable life experiences. As the lead ice cream specialist for the Redmond-based company, Setala manages the warehouse, stocks carts and vehicles, and ensures that events Moonie Icy Tunes caters are well organized.
One event in particular stands out for Setala. During his first summer with the company he covered an ice cream event solo as a favor to a co-worker. He recalled catching on quickly and working the vent without any issues or problems. “That moment helped me to become pro-active about seeing things through from beginning to end and is a one I will always remember,” he said.”
Setala also said with laughter that as a newly licensed 16-year-old driver, his required travel to Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond, made him a better driver. And working with many different types of people taught him how to “stay professional,” which he considers a great lesson for work and living.
Setala values his connections with people, jazz music, work, and his church, where he can meet and form lasting relationships. He said his family is an important part of his success, creativity and drive, and is tremendously supportive of seeing him reach his dreams.
He also believes that music is helping people deal with the stress of COVID-19 through technology and other ingenious methods that keep the rhythm rolling on. He said that musicians are creating amazing musical projects by collaborating on social media and performing together on websites like Jam Kazam.
Setala will be moving to San Francisco in early October so that he can start school at the prestigious San Francisco conservatory of Music. After graduating, he envisions that he may perform, teach or perhaps continue with school to earn his master’s degree in fine arts, or even do a little bit of everything.
And after three years at Moonie Icy Tunes, working dozens of ice cream events, and stocking and driving ice cream all over Western Washington, Setala doesn’t hesitate in his reply to one final question: Does he still like ice cream? The answer is yes. All of it.
— By Misha Carter