Kara Mullinax, the head drum major of the Marching Southerners, will be humming a new tune in the months to come: “Here Comes the Bride.”
Last Friday night, after the Southerners gave a special performance of their 2014 show for a crowd of alumni in Burgess-Snow Stadium, her boyfriend, Nic Burgess, stepped out of the snare line, got down on one knee and proposed.
“Nic contacted me about a month ago and told me that he was going to propose to Kara,” said Dr. Ken Bodiford, the Director of Bands at JSU, “I told the crowd, ‘Watch the center of the snare line closely. They are going to do something that has never been done by a Southerners’ drumline’.” And indeed they did. Bodiford says the Southerners see 3-4 proposals a year, but even after 21 years and almost 80 engagements, this one was unique.
With the help of the drumline, Burgess spelled out, “Kara, marry me” during a post-performance cadence with letters on the snare and bass drums. He then appeared on the field with a ring.
“I have never been more shocked in my life,” said Mullinax. “I couldn’t wait to run out there to him. I was still in disbelief at what was happening. It was the most incredible moment. It was so heartfelt, and it fit our relationship perfectly. The drumline is his family and mine, and the moment wouldn’t have been the same without them.”
Burgess and Mullinax’s relationship began three years ago exactly where one would expect: in band. Burgess came to Jacksonville in 2006 and spent eight years on the Southerners drumline, two of those years as a section leader.
When Mullinax joined in 2010, the two were merely acquaintances, but Burgess’s persistence paid off.
“He kept trying to get me to go out on a date with him, but I wasn’t so sure how I felt about that,” said Mullinax. “I finally decided to give him a chance, and the rest is history. We started dating and haven’t looked back.”
Burgess remained with the band as a graduate assistant following his graduation as he pursued a Master’s degree in Emergency Management.
He has since graduated from Georgia Fire Academy and is pursuing a career in fire and emergency services.
Mullinax is in her second semester of nursing school here at JSU and is set to graduate in a year and a half.
After graduation, the couple would like to stay near one of their families, either in the Jacksonville or Newnan, Georgia area. As of now, they do not have any set wedding plans other than that the ceremony will not be until after Mullinax graduates.
“Nic and Kara area both wonderful people,” said Bodiford. “I wish them a very happy life together.”