How musicians made a baby boy smile on the last day of his life

New Year's Day 2018 marks two years since the Harvey family lost their infant son, JR.

But as the anniversary approaches, the family is remembering a moment of beauty in the final hours of his life.

That New Year's Eve, as JR's health declined, a group of musicians came to his Charlottesville, Va., hospital room to put a smile on his face. 

“We stood at the doorway and asked if they wanted some music," said Jenny Heitler-Klevans, the band director for Pickleberry Pie: Hospital Concerts for Kids. "And they said yes. So we sang a bunch of songs and it was clear that something really incredible was going on.”

JR, who was born with a serious heart condition, was waiting for a heart transplant in the pediatric intensive care unit of the hospital. But when the music began, the 11-month-old boy cracked a smile.

“It's just this amazing moment where... the hospital fades into the background, all of the other stress that's going on,” his mother, Jennifer Harvey, told InsideEdition.com. “My son actually smiled at the end of one of the songs and it was one of the last smiles—in fact, I do believe the last smile—that he ever gave, because he did pass away in the early hours of New Year’s Day, so not even 24 hours later he was gone.”

Jennifer Harvey said that her son was in the hospital for most of 2015 and had several open heart surgeries during his short life. 

“When you basically become a citizen of the hospital... there’s very little that feels like not hospital. So gifts like music are amazing. It transforms where you’re at and what’s going on. There is a transcendent quality. It’s very healing," she said. 

"We received this gift, this moment, that we get to hold on to forever. It’s truly one of the last good memories I have of my son with my family involved. We didn’t know [the musicians] were coming, they just showed up, and we didn’t know how much we needed it. And we wouldn’t even know until later how important that moment was because things were so critical.”

Heitler-Klevans says its Pickleberry Pie's mission to entertain children and their families. 

The music is for "brightening spirits and bringing joy and laughter to kids and families who are going through a difficult time," she said.

And for the Harveys, that's exactly what it did.

RELATED: Top baby names in 2016 state

52 PHOTOS
Top baby names in 2016 state
See Gallery
Top baby names in 2016 state

Alabama

Girl: Ava

Boy: William

Alaska

Girl: Emma

Boy: Liam

Arizona

Girl: Emma

Boy: Liam

Arkansas

Girl: Ava

Boy: Elijah

California

Girl: Mia

Boy: Noah

Colorado

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Liam

Connecticut

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Noah

Delaware

Girl: Ava

Boy: Liam

District of Columbia

Girl: Ava

Boy: William

Florida

Girl: Isabella

Boy: Liam​​​​​​​

Georgia

Girl: Ava

Boy: William

Hawaii

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Noah

Idaho

Girl: Emma

Boy: Oliver

Illinois

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Noah

Indiana

Girl: Emma

Boy: Oliver

Iowa

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Oliver

Kansas

Girl: Emma

Boy: Benjamin

Kentucky

Girl: Emma

Boy: William

Louisiana

Girl: Ava

Boy: Liam

Maine

Girl: Emma

Boy: Liam

Maryland

Girl: Ava

Boy: Noah

Massachusetts

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Benjamin

Michigan

Girl: Ava

Boy: Noah

Minnesota

Girl: Evelyn

Boy: Henry

Mississippi

Girl: Ava

Boy: William

Missouri

Girl: Olivia

Boy: William

Montana

Girl: Harper

Boy: James

Nebraska

Girl: Emma

Boy: ​​​​​​​Liam

Nevada

Girl: Mia

Boy: Liam

New Hampshire

Girl: Charlotte

Boy: Noah

New Jersey

Girl: Mia

Boy: Liam

New Mexico

Girl: Mia

Boy: Elijah

New York

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Liam

North Carolina

Girl: Ava

Boy: William

North Dakota

Girl: Harper

Boy: Oliver

Ohio

Girl: Emma

Boy: Liam

Oklahoma

Girl: Emma

Boy: Liam

Oregon

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Oliver

Pennsylvania

Girl: Emma

Boy: Noah

Rhode Island

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Liam

South Carolina

Girl: Ava

Boy: William

South Dakota

Girl: Emma

Boy: Oliver

Tennessee

Girl: Emma

Boy: William

Texas

Girl: Emma

Boy: Noah

Utah

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Oliver

Vermont

Girl: Harper

Boy: Owen

Virginia

Girl: Olivia

Boy: William

Washington

Girl: Emma

Boy: Liam

West Virginia

Girl: Harper

Boy: Mason

Wisconsin

Girl: Olivia

Boy: Oliver

Wyoming

Girl: Emma

Boy: Wyatt

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

RELATED STORIES

High School Students Gift Custodian With New Pair of Work Boots For Christmas

Meet the 89-Year-Old Who Has Spent Decades Playing His Ukulele for Hospital Patients

First Responders Reunite With Man They Saved After He Collapsed While Holding Infant Daughter

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.