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Questionable Citizenship Threatens Dream of Young Musician -- Sky Arnold

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Rex Yape has become one of the best oboe students in the country playing a borrowed instrument.

The Antioch High student's family can't afford to buy an instrument so he's been playing a loaner the music industry has provided Metro Schools.

"Yeah I'm really sad to give it back.  I won't get an oboe as good as the one I just had," said Yape.

Unfortunately buying an instrument is the least of his worries.

While applying to study at some of the best music conservatories in the country, Yape discovered something that came as a shock.

Not only did he not have a social security number but his citizenship is still pending.

It was a big deal because the conservatories required a social security number in the application process.

"I was scared I wouldn't be able to play oboe," said Yape.

Yape's parents moved from Italy to the United States for a job when he was 4 and never got around to finalizing his citizenship.

The thought of a legal issue stopping him was just unthinkable to Yape's teacher Linda Friend.

She's been with him since discovering his remarkable ear for music in the forth grade.

"He's much more of a musician than I will ever be," said Friend.  "He has this enormous gift and I want to see this gift get its full fruition."

Out of all the schools Yape wanted to apply to only the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music would accept an application without a social security number.

Yape and Friend took a 42 hour round trip bus ride just so he could try out.

The Institute accepted Yape as one of only 2 oboe players this year but the news did come with another challenge.

Yape's family had to borrow large sums of money to move his citizenship status forward so he can be eligible for a scholarship.

The problem is, the Curtis Institute wants $1,300 by May 1st to finalize his admission.

"I can't even afford an oboe how am I gonna afford this," asked Yape.

It's a question friends are now trying to answer with an online fundraiser to not only buy him and instrument but also help Yape attend the school he's always dreamed of.

"The people who come out of that just were truly artists.  They hone their skills to a point it was them singing through their instruments," said Yape.

To donate to the campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/send-rex-to-curtis.


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