Channing Philbrick, Co-Assistant Principal Trumpet, doubles in Bel Canto on trumpet and pututo, a maring conch shell fitted with a wooden mouthpiece. Its otherworldly sound arcs out over the audience like an ancient siren. Composer Jimmy Lopez owns the two pututos Channing is playing.
“You basically play it by buzzing your lips as you would do on any brass instrument. The difference is that the opening is bigger than a normal trumpet mouthpiece and the rim is made out of wood instead of brass. There is little resistance so it takes lots of air. Much more than a trumpet.“
Tips and facts on pututo playing from Channing:
1) Make sure the creature living in there is gone. If it's still there when you blow into it, things will be bad for both of you.
2) Lyric was unwilling to send me to beach locations around the world to study the various pututo playing styles so I just watched a lot of Gilligan's Island and BayWatch reruns.
3) They are fragile and don't come with cases (apparently there is not much of a pututo case market) so carrying them requires caution. I don't think they would survive a fall.
4) Auto correct does not like the word pututo.